Conscious Escapism: The Benefits of a Spiritual Cheat Day

“The roadway to excess causes the palace of wisdom … You never know what suffices till you understand what is ample.” ~ William Blake
As your behavior modifications, so does your diet. Not simply what you eat, but everything you consume, including what you listen to, watch, check out, and pay attention to.
Theres a tipping point– eating well can become a fixation. You might develop anxiety around consuming junk food, and your desire to consume well influences your social life, or you feel guilty for the times you indulge.
Your spiritual diet isnt devoid of its own form of orthorexia. A healthy spiritual diet– such as a practice of meditation, reading spiritual texts, spending quality time in nature, serving others– increases your spiritual health. There is a tipping point.
What if you regret yourself for wishing to invest an evening seeing Netflix? Or consuming without being conscious? Or being distracted and unfocused? Or not having the energy to serve? Or not capturing yourself before responding in anger?
What if when you feel stress and anxiety, you dont wish to journal or meditate or unpick and dissect its root trigger? What if you do not want to invest the energy to “raise your vibration” or reframe your ideas? What if all you desire is to consume ice cream or go out with friends or have a glass of white wine or view the Champions League?
The time will come where you no longer crave unhealthy food, for the nutrition of the path itself satisfies you more than anything. Up until this point, instead of trying too tough to resist, its a lot more useful to permit yourself to indulge, and provide yourself the periodic reward, without guilt or embarassment.
Unconscious Escapism vs. Conscious Escapism
In psychology, escapism is specified as a habits or desire to prevent facing truth. I place escapism into 2 categories: unconscious and conscious. This is an essential distinction, due to the fact that many people who practice meditation and mindfulness are, to some degree, knowledgeable about when they are taking part in unhelpful habits.
Unconscious escapism lacks self-awareness. It is a default, auto-pilot response to particular unpleasant sensations. Its not wrong, or bad, its just a method we find out how to cope. However in the context of spiritual development and healing, unconscious escapism perpetuates suffering. It distracts us from discomfort and eventually sidetracks us from ourselves.
Mindful escapism checks out and acknowledges underlying emotions with empathy, prior to picking to indulge. Possibly youre just worn out or require a feeling of convenience, or just wish to take pleasure in a film. All of these choices are alright, and do not make you any less “spiritual.” Quite the reverse: picking to do a meaningless activity can be a great act of self-compassion.
Conscious Escapism Is the Cheat Meal
Mindful escapism is selecting standard distractions, knowing the periodic cheat meal does not reflect your overall diet plan. Its acknowledging where youre at and allowing yourself to lean on systems behaviors that offer short-term solace, fully aware this isnt the perfect option.
To get physically healthy, a well balanced and manageable routine and diet are much better than an extreme, high-intensity regular and fad diet. Start off with high strength, youll likely burn out and go back to old routines. Rather, as you advance and form new practices, you might increase the intensity, or discover that eating well becomes simpler.
Theres no reason the spiritual course needs to be any different. For many years, Ive experienced the extremes of depriving myself due to the belief around a spiritual individual wouldnt … (get angry, eat nachos or other unhealthy food, binge watch Netflix when feeling down, argue with their partner, take pleasure in buying brand-new clothes, curse, put things off on tackling their financial resources …).
Its just when I permitted mindful escapism that Ive discovered what truly benefits me.
Primarily, I was motivated to attempt this route by supportive good friends and household who could tell I required time off. Ive constantly pressed myself, Ive constantly placed high requirements on myself, and these characteristics of perfectionism were soaked up into my spiritual practice.
In time my requirement for standard escape has minimized. That does not mean I will not avoid a meditation session or enjoy a couple of episodes of Community to lighten my state of mind if it feels best to do so. Going too far in the other direction produces a sensation of tension or even resentment towards my practice, a result of spiritual orthorexia.
The Spiritual Diet and Discernment.
A word of warning: Conscious escapism isnt an excuse to choose the path of least resistance. The ego can pirate this concept, too, weaving a narrative of deceit that finds reasons and reasons as to why you are worthy of to not practice meditation, or why your distinct spiritual path is finding knowledge through Game of Thrones.
Beware of this and apply the principle of a basic diet plan. Understand which foods are great and which arent. I understand that a healthy diet requires me to consume well the majority of the time. I know that if I always enjoy high-fat, high-sugar scrap food, itll result in reduced health. But I understand the occasional reward is great.
When to indulge and when to do the work is a matter of trial and mistake, knowing. It takes practice, self-honesty, and time. It requires self-compassion for the minutes you over-indulge, knowing sometimes the road to excess results in the palace of wisdom.
When you find momentum with your practice, you might experience a tendency to go all-in. The joy and motivation that comes from meditation, or spiritual conversations, or insights, or noticing areas of development or recovery, produce a sense of desiring more. You may feel the spiritual path is your lifes calling, and youll do all you can to honor it.
This is stunning, and its worth valuing the innocence of this intrinsic motivation. Im here to tell you– you can take the day off. You can breathe, pause, and take some time far from development or development.
You can, unashamedly, give yourself permission to indulge in mindful escapism.

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Your spiritual diet plan isnt free from its own kind of orthorexia. A healthy spiritual diet– such as a practice of meditation, checking out spiritual texts, costs time in nature, serving others– boosts your spiritual health. In the context of spiritual growth and recovery, unconscious escapism perpetuates suffering. Going too far in the other instructions creates a feeling of stress or even resentment towards my practice, an outcome of spiritual orthorexia.
The joy and motivation that comes from meditation, or spiritual conversations, or insights, or observing areas of development or healing, develop a sense of wanting more.

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